Serta icomfort Insight or Sealy Comfort series Coral Bay

My husband and I bought a icomfort Prodigy and are not happy with it. We are going to exchange it but have a limited variety of options. We both felt the Prodigy had too many soft memory foam layers…we both have hip pain and and don’t feel adaquately supported. My husband would prefer a memory foam or latex mattress, I am little leary of the feeling of not being able to turn over easily. My husband is 300lbs and I am 140 lbs. Our previous mattress was a beautyrest that had serious sagging issues after a few years. We are currently looking at a icomfort Insight and a Sealy Coral Bay (comfort series with gel memory foam) - both are about 10 inches with 7 inches of foam support with 3 inches of memory foam. The coral bay is around 1300 and the insight around 1800. The only other mattress we liked was a Sterns and foster latex (firm?) that was 2400… we went way over our means financially with the prodigy and wondering if the other memory foam models would suit our needs (or do we really need to invest in the latex?). Any advice would be very much appreciated, as I am sick about having bought the prodigy!

Hi Singsongster,

Unfortunately you are in a similar position to many people who have bought a mattress that isn’t suitable for their needs and preferences but are also “trapped” into an exchange that is limited to what the store has available.

There are several other threads that deal with similar circumstances including this thread (and two other threads it links to) along with this thread, and this thread and my suggestions for you would be very similar to the ones in these threads. They boil down to choosing an exchange mattress with the firmest and least possible amount of lower quality materials in the upper layers (such as lower density memory foam or polyfoam) and then adding a topper of your choice to add your own softer comfort layer. This component system has the advantage of a sleeping system that uses higher quality and more durable materials in the all important comfort layers which will be more durable and can also be exchanged or replaced down the road if necessary without having to replace the entire mattress.

While this is not an ideal situation to be in to say the least … at least it will help you make the best of a difficult set of circumstances.

The iComfort insight may be suitable in some cases as a base mattress for someone who was lighter (it uses a medium quality comfort layer of 4 lb particulate gel memory foam and a lower quality base layer of 1.5 lbs) but I would not recommend it in your case because this would not likely be a very durable mattress for someone who was 300 lbs. The Coral Bay would be even worse (as you can see from the layering described here).

Hope this helps.


Thanks so much for your response. Ughh…I always research everything and with the recent arrival of my second child, I gave into my husband’s choice for a mattress without my usual thoroughness :). So if the two firmer memory foam mattresses are not recommended for my husband’s weight…what would you recommend from the selections at this store??

Wish I could just get a refund… my dad said his father would get what he wanted by staying in the store until they finally gave into what he wanted… not a bad idea if I camp out with my 2/1/2 year old running around and my 3 month old crying for the day… :slight_smile:

Following what you describe here from another post, I have these options at the store we bought from…

Stearns and Foster Luxury line… Josette ultra firm (1900), and the Heidi Firm (1700)
Stearns and Foster Estate line… Twila ultra firm (2200) and Graciela Firm (2000)
Stearns and Foster latex… Wine Country Villa (2250) and Swiss Mt. Villa Cushion Firm (2400)

I believe my husband may have liked the Twila ultra firm…it felt so hard I dismissed it immediately. So how do you buy a really firm mattress without all the comfort layers and trust that it’s going to “feel” right with a latex topper? Also between the innnerspring options and the latex options, what do you think would last the longest and give the most support considering my husband’s weight. And do you ever suggest buying two twin XL’s to work out the differences in weight and support needs? Thanks!

Hi Singsongster,

Unfortunately they don’t list the layers of the specific models they sell so you would need to enlist the help of a salesperson that can give you the information you need about the layering (from their spec sheets) to decide on which mattress is most suitable as a base for a topper. What you would be looking for (if you go in this direction) is a firm or preferably extra firm model with the absolute minimal amount of softer polyfoam or memory foam in the comfort layers. Unfortunately the brands they carry almost always have too much lower quality foam in the top layers so the mattress topper combination is usually the most effective direction to go in these cases.

Because none of the mattresses they carry are particularly good value … I would also make sure that you look for something that has the same price as your credit so you don’t end up spending any extra money (except for the topper) on a higher priced mattress.

A refund would be ideal but their policy says after 72 hours that you are only eligible for an exchange credit. If you do decide to put your “plan” into action I’d love to hear how it goes.

If they provide you with the layering details of any of their mattresses you are also welcome to post it here if you want some feedback on how suitable the mattress may be as a “base” layer for a topper.


hi singsongster,

I wrote the last post last night before your post from this morning so with the additional information it would be easier to make some choices.

The Josette Ultra firm has 3" of polyfoam on top along with .5" of fiber and .5" of memory foam.

The Heidi Firm has 4" of polyfoam and .5" of fiber.

The Twila Ultra firm has 4" of polyfoam, .5" of fiber, and 3/4" of synthetic latex.

the Graciella has 5" of polyfoam, 1" of memory foam, and .5" of fiber.

The Wine Country Villa has 2.5" of polyfoam with 3/4" of latex and then an additional 2" of polyfoam underneath. The top 2.5" of polyfoam is very soft.

The Mountain Villa cushion firm is similar to the wine country(except it has a latex core).

Out of these the Josette and the Twila would probably be the best choices (even though all of them still have more polyfoam that I would be comfortable with).

The best choice of all would probably be the ultra firm models in the Luxury Latex models … particularly one like the River View Villa Firm listed here (or its equivalent under another name) which only has .5" of polyfoam but they don’t seem to carry them.


Thanks Phoenix!
We will go and try them out after christmas. Are the coils on an ultra firm bed going to support extra weight better than a firm latex mattress (seeing as they don’t have the firmest latex mattress at the store)? If the ultra firm coil models feel really uncomfortable to me, do I just go ahead with it and add a topper and hope it feels the way I want…or settle for a little more padding? It’s seems hard to me to select a topper since most are ordered online…how can you assess “feel” by looking at foam densities?
Sorry for all the additional questions…my family has banned me from talking about mattresses and I need to sort out a few things in my mind before laying it to rest :).

Hi Singsongster,

the Stearns & Foster coils in the ultra plush and the ultra firm (and everything in between) are the same, it’s just that the layers over the coils are different.

A latex core can be just as supportive or even more so than an innerspring. Once again though the difference is the layers that are above the support layers or components of a mattress.

In general a mattress has two types of “support”. what I call “primary support” comes from the firmer layers in the lower part of the mattress. This is the part that “stops” the heavier parts of the body from sinking down too far and causing the spine or joints to be out of alignment. The upper layers of the mattress “allow” the pressure points to sink in enough in all the sleeping positions to re-distribute pressure away from the pressure points but they also provide secondary support by filling in the gaps in the sleeping profile and helping to support the more recessed curves of the spine.

When you are testing a mattress as a base layer for a topper it will clearly be too firm for comfort but if you know the type of material you prefer in the comfort layers (generally either fast response materials like latex or slow response materials like memory foam) then it’s just a matter of choosing a topper in the thickness and softness that best matches your needs and preferences.

If the mattress needs just a “touch to a little” extra softness or a softer “surface feel” … then a 1" topper is usually enough.

If you need a little to a fair bit of extra softness and pressure relief … then a 2" topper would be in the average range.

If you need a fair bit to a lot of extra softness then a 3" topper would probably be the best choice.

Heavier weights generally do better with firmer and thicker toppers.

Lighter weights generally do best with softer and thinner toppers.

In general … 19 - 24 ILD in latex would be considered to be in the soft range for “average” body types while very light body types may be OK with an ultra soft 14 ILD and heavier body types would probably do better with 28 ILD and above.

Most people of “average” weight would likely prefer the softer “feel” and faster response of a 4 lb less temperature sensitive memory foam vs a denser 5 lb memory foam and heavier body types may prefer the firmer “feel” of many 5 lb memory foams. Memory foam can vary widely in its properties though (see post #8 here and post #9 here) so it would be a good idea to talk with the retailer or manufacturer you are considering to advise you what they have been most successful with in the specific memory foam they supply.

Side sleepers with a bigger differential between their waist and shoulders (usually men) or between their waist and hips (usually women) may need thicker and softer upper layers than body types that are “straighter” to allow them to sink in a little more deeply in the wider areas and “fill in” and help provide secondary support for the gaps in their sleeping profile.

Flatter sleeping positions (such as stomach) generally need a thinner/firmer topper.

Curvier sleeping positions (such as side) or more curvy body types generally need a thicker/softer topper. Back sleepers are in the middle.

Those who prefer to sink in less and prefer a firmer surface feel to their mattress than average will tend to choose a little firmer.

Those who like to sink in more and like a softer surface feel than “average” will tend to choose a little softer.

A mattress that has softer support layers or that already has some layers of softer foam in the comfort layers will generally need a thinner topper than a mattress that has a firmer support layer or where there is already less softer foam in the comfort layers. Too much softness or thickness in the upper layers of a sleeping system (the comfort layers and topper combined) can be risky for alignment.

If you choose memory foam it may be OK to go a little thicker than these guidelines because memory foam displaces as well as compresses and you may sink in a little more evenly with a slightly thicker topper but the other side of this is that if you go too thick with memory foam (over 3" or so) there can be significantly greater risk of alignment issues over the course of the night because memory foam properties change with heat and humidity and time so I would stick with 3" maximum in most cases.

These are some general guidelines and while they may not be “perfect” … in combination with a little bit of testing on different materials (fast and slow response) and a sense of whether your preferences tend towards firmer or softer than the average for your weight and sleeping positions you are in a good position to make a suitable choice.

Your circumstances are less than ideal but at least this way you have the best odds of ending up with a sleeping system that is both suitable for your needs and preferences and will also be more durable.

With polyfoam and memory foam … the density of the foam is the most important part of its quality and durability. Both low and higher density foams of these types can be either firm or soft. In other words … with either of these types of foam the density has little to do with how firm it is or how it feels.

With latex … the density is more closely connected with whether it is soft or firm but this is generally measured in ILD rather then density (or in many cases a supplier will just call it soft, medium, firm etc). The most important part of knowing the quality or properties of latex is not density but the type of latex (Dunlop or Talalay) and the blend between synthetic or natural latex. This can range from completely synthetic rubber to completely natural rubber or any blend of the two. You can read a little more about the different types of latex in this article and in post #6 here.

Some of the better sources for toppers I’m aware of are listed in post #4 here.

Some of the other posts that include some thoughts about choosing a topper that may be helpful include post #2 here and post #2 here and post #2 here and post #4 here (which also includes some of the return/exchange policies I’m aware of).

If after sleeping on a firm mattress (to get a sense of how much more softness you may need) and testing various latex comfort layers in local stores you are still completely uncertain … then buying your topper from a retailer that offers a good return policy so you can test a particular topper with less risk can be a good idea.


Thanks so much for all the info, Phoenix! It really helps me feel more confident with going forward with a mattress/topper selection. Now on to enjoying Christmas…

Happy to say that my husband and I went to Bernie and Phyl’s and were able to get a refund for our icomfort mattress…thanks Bernie and Phyl’s! I had visited local mattress maker - Gardiner Mattress Company and almost every bed felt great. I’m looking forward to picking out a bed from this retailer, knowing exactly what goes into the mattress and feeling like we are using our money wisely. Yay!

Hi singsongster,

Way to go :slight_smile:

Gardiner makes some very high quality mattresses and they are good people to work with. You are fortunate to be in the Boston area


Okay, so we went to Gardner mattress and think we would like to get a latex mattress. They had a core support with firm talalay latex that we could buy…which is flippable…and offered to sell us a 2 inch firm (22-24) talalay topper ( no cover)… Total would be about $2500 for everything. They had mattresses made up with the same specs but we felt it would be more cost effective to have a flippable base and separate topper. I am hesitate because I am not sure I am feeling the right combination of layers…and probably won’t really know until i sleep on it. I like buying locally but am also wondering about ordering online and saving more money…I am intrigued by the zippered covers and DIY beds…I think took several weeks, and we can’ t wait that long… Any thoughts?

Hi Singsongster,

I personally place a high value on local testing and as a rough guideline I place a value “premium” on buying locally in the range of about 20% (meaning is a similar mattress is available online for about 20% less I would consider it roughly equivalent value) because of the lowered risk involved.

I would need to know the specifics of the mattress topper combination (layering, cover type etc) along with the size and what else was included in the purchase (foundation or any other extras etc) to make any real assessment of value but there is also additional value in a two sided mattress and with a separate mattress topper combination where you have the option of replacing just the topper which is likely the first part of your sleeping system which will soften or degrade and the value of extending the life of the mattress itself even though latex is already very durable material.

Gardiner makes some very high quality mattresses and I think highly of both them and the mattresses they make and would certainly choose them over mainstream brands. Its relative local value would depend on what else was available in the area ad on all the other factors that are involved in assessing the “value” of a mattress purchase. Its value compared to online options would depend on making an “apples to apples” comparison between similar mattresses as well and once again assigning a “value” to all the different options and pros and cons involved with dealing with each manufacturer or retailer.

There is real value IMO to buying a mattress that you have personally tested (particularly if it comes from a high quality manufacturer) vs a purchase that has different layers and components that may not be the same in terms of how it feels and responds to your particular body type, sleeping positions, and preferences even though both may use good quality materials.

These are really questions that are more about personal preferences and the elements of each person’s “value equation” that are most important to them (see post #46 here) but if you are choosing between Gardiner and the online options that are available to members of this forum then you are choosing between “good and good” and no matter which direction you choose … from a quality/value perspective (which has nothing to do with the suitability of a mattress for your specific needs and preferences) it would be difficult to make a “mistake”.

Once you have eliminated all the worst options (which you have) … my role is to help you decide “how” to choose rather than “what” to choose based on all the objective, subjective, and intangible factors that are most important to you and are a matter of individual preferences.


So after looking into the online options, I have decided I really do value the ability to talk to a quality retailer which has an excellent exchange/return policy. In fact I talked with Kirk, who I think is the manager at Gardner today. He wasn’t around for the second visit I made with my husband yesterday. I told him we were leaning towards ordering the 6" latex talalay base (36 ILD) with a cotton cover, along with a 2" talalay topper (no cover) 28ILD, along with a foundation. I told him I also like their pocketed coil mattress with 2 inches of Talalay for a comfort layer, but wished it was flippable. He said he was currently working on creating just that…a 2 sided pocketed coil and options for toppers…but it would be a while before he had it in production. He seemed to feel that both the latex base and the pocketed coil would be too soft over the long haul for my husband’s weight. He felt more comfortable selling us an innerspring…lace tufted?..that was flippable and had the least amount of comfort layers and then adding the freestanding topper we wanted. We initially had thought the motion transfer on these beds was too great…he suggested trying a foundation rather than a boxspring to remedy this. Or if we really wanted latex as a base he could order a firmer core for us. He personally does not love latex or pocket coils as a base…which makes sense since their innersprings have a thicker gauge wire and have been the staple of their company.

After just this conversation, I am more convinced we should shop local. Not often does a saleman recommend a lower cost bed! We will go again tomorrow to try these beds again…they have offered to switch out the boxspring for a foundation for us to try in the store and will bring over a 2" topper to try from their factory. If this works out the bed should be about $1800. So with all that said, do you find that firm innerspring mattresses do have an advantage over a latex or pocket coil, as far as accomodating heavier weights and longevity? Thanks…

Hi Singsongster,

This is exactly the kind of quality service and information that is the reason it’s such a pleasure to deal with the better local manufacturers such as Gardner (no i) :slight_smile:

Out of the three you mentioned … in theory a pocket coil would likely be the least durable for heavier weights yes and there are many smaller manufacturers who don’t trust their longevity with heavier weights … although this would depend to some degree on the design of the mattress and the innerspring.

The difference between a latex support core and an innerspring support core (with helicals) would be more about their differences in performance rather than durability IMO. Latex has a different response curve than an innerspring and some heavier people may well prefer it but in terms of durability … in a firm version latex will generally last at least as long or longer than an innerspring. It’s also true that neither of these support cores would likely be the weak link of the mattress. I would consider this to be a matter of preference and which one provided the best combination of PPP (Pressure relief, Posture and alignment, and Personal preferences) for your specific body type and sleeping positions. I also think it’s a good idea to test these on a foundation vs an innerspring to see which matches you better.

I have encountered many instances of different long term experienced manufacturers with clear differences in the mattress designs they prefer to make and each of them have their own reasons for believing which is “better” which make sense :). In the end if you are comparing quality components and materials … it’s usually all about which one best provides you with your needs and preferences and less a matter of which is “best” (assuming they are both suitable for you and don’t have any obvious “weak links”).


Okay, so we finally got our refund and ended up buying a 100% talalay mattress. We went back to Gardner mattress to try the beds with the inner springs and a 2" latex topper and to try the latex topper over the latex flippable core… we still felt the motion transfer to be too great on the innerspring despite it feeling good. The latex topper over the latex core ended up feeling very different from the 2" latex over core, incased in a mattress covering (with jomo wool as a thin comfort layer). Though I really wanted a flippable mattress with a topper, we ended up choosing the all in one… it was very close in cost to the mattress we returned. Even though it was more than I wanted to pay…I feel much better knowing i got quality materials. We have slept on the bed for 2 nights…my husband loves it…it is a little firm for my tastes but I am getting used to it. Love the solid supportive feel it has.
Can’t say enough about how much I appreciate this site. I just posted a rave review on facebook for my 300 friends and plan to donate some to support your efforts… thanks again!

Hi Singsongster,

It’s great to see that you did some good testing. As you experienced … sometimes some seemingly small differences in a mattress (such as a mattress topper combination vs the same layers that are all encased in a mattress with a different quilted cover) can make a significant difference in how a mattress feels and performs and personal testing can “cut through” all the technical details.

Your mattress has great quality and durable materials and is much better value than what you had before even though the cost is higher.

I think you made a great choice and it’s nice to see that your “saga” had a successful outcome.

Thanks for the kind words as well … and most of all … congratulations on your new mattress :slight_smile: